2012: The Year in Jazz
French singer Cyrille Aimée, now based in Brooklyn, NY, took first-place honors in the first Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition in Newark, NJ. Aimée was a 2010 Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition finalist.
Drummer Roy Haynes received the George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.
The United Nations appointed pianist Danilo Pérez as U.N. Artist for Peace to recognize his efforts to promote music programs for children living in extreme poverty in his native Panama.
Pianist/composer Myra Melford won the $75,000 2012 Alpert Award in the Arts for Music from the Herb Alpert Foundation.
Trombonist Daniel Blacksberg, Sun Ra Arkestra leader Marshall Allen, pianist/composer Matthew Mitchell and saxophonist/composer Greg Osby were among 13 Philadelphia-area artists receiving $60,000 no-strings-attached Pew Fellowships in the Arts in 2012. The honors recognize their artistic achievements and the potential to use the fellowship to advance their work.
Drummer Jimmy Cobb received 2012's Donostiako Jazzaldia Award from the Heineken Jazzaldia festival in San Sebastian, Spain.
The Beale Street Brass Note Walk of Fame in Memphis honored saxophonist Charles Lloyd in April, when he returned to play a concert in his hometown for the first time since 1964.
2012's jazz inductees into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in November included bandleader Jimmie Lunceford, composer and cornetist W.C. Handy, saxophonist George Coleman, educator W.T. McDaniel, singer Memphis Minnie and trumpeter Willie Mitchell.
Bassist, vocalist, composer and bandleader Esperanza Spalding won a Smithsonian Magazine American Ingenuity Award in the performing arts category at a Washington, DC, gala in November.
Clarinetist Don Byron, guitarist Bill Frisell, drummer John Hollenbeck, pianist Vijay Iyer and flautist Nicole Mitchell were among the 21 performing artists in the first class of Doris Duke Artists, a new initiative of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Each will receive an unrestricted, multi-year cash grant of $225,000, plus as much as $50,000 more in targeted support for retirement savings and audience development.
Composer-pianist Vijay Iyer also won the Greenfield Prize, awarded this year in the field of music, from the Hermitage Artist Retreat and the Greenfield Foundation. The prize includes a $30,000 commission of an original work of art, a residency at the Hermitage in Englewood, FL, and a partnership with a professional arts organization to develop the work.
Other Notable Moments
The New York Pops orchestra celebrated the 65th anniversary of singer Ella Fitzgerald's Carnegie Hall debut with on March 16, with a commemorative performance featuring Patti Austin singing Fitzgerald's classic Sings the Gershwin Songbook (Verve, 1959).
There's an App For That
Blue Note Records launched an innovative new app that enables users to explore and discover music spanning the entire history of the label from 1939 to present. The app is housed on the online music streaming service Spotify.
Minted Fresh Music
There's a new jazz record label on the blockwith a production twist. Iridium Live will release live recordings from the New York midtown club by the same name. In additional to traditional sales vehicles in stores, online and at the club, releases in the Iridium's Freshly Burned series will be available for purchase immediately following performances.
Blind jazz-rock guitarist Jeff Golub stepped onto the tracks at a New York subway station in September but was only grazed by a train as the motorman screeched it to a halt. Golub had his guide dog at his side but mistakenly believed he was stepping through a door onto a subway car. He said the train hit him on the leg before he was able to climb back onto the platform with the help of fellow straphangers.
Nobody Wins This One